A new study,?published in the Journal of?Physical Activity and Health,investigates several subgroups of the participants, divided by exercise amounts, the first such analysis of the registry population. The study results include some surprises.
The researchers followed 3,591 adult men and women (average age of 46; 95% Caucasian), dividing them into four groups by their physical activity levels. The highest exercisers said they expended more than 3,500 calories (roughly 35 miles of running) in a week; the low-exercise group expended less than 1,000 calories per week. The study lasted three years. All subjects were already enrolled in the registry, meaning that they had maintained a weight loss of at least 30 pounds for a year or longer.
The study team hypothesized that the low-exercise group would have to follow more dietary strategies to maintain their weight than the high exercisers. Instead, the results showed the opposite.
?Those reporting higher levels of physical activity indicated greater difficulty maintaining weight [based on several behavior questionnaires completed by all subjects], and a greater importance of both following their diet regimen and following their exercise routine,? the researchers wrote.
The researchers also noted the following:
?We were surprised to observe that those reporting low levels of physical activity did not appear to rely more on dietary strategies to achieve and maintain their weight loss relative to those reporting more physical activity. There is a subset of [registry] participants who appear to be able to maintain a weight loss while engaging in relatively low levels of physical activity and with less of a focus on dietary habits.?
Lead author Victoria Catenacci, M.D., from the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center at the University of Colorado Denver, told?Runner’s World Newswire,
?This suggests that there is not a one-size-fits-all strategy for successful weight loss maintenance. Some individuals may need to use more strategies than others.?
She also notes that the low-activity group had twice as many smokers as the other three groups.
All four groups reported roughly the same amount of weight regain, about 11 pounds, during the three years. The same subjects had lost an average of ?71 pounds before entering into the registry database. Message: It really is hard to keep all the weight off, even if you are an exerciser.
Among the diet strategies more often followed by the high-activity group than the other groups: lower fat intake, more carbohydrate intake, less fast food, and more frequent breakfasts. At the beginning of the study, this group had lost about 7.5 pounds more than those in the other three activity groups.
?The important take-home message here is that most successful weight-loss maintainers employ both dietary and activity strategies, not one or the other,? says Catenacci. ?Some people may need more strategies than others. The key is to find a set of behaviors that works for you, and then to maintain them over time.?
Click the following link to learn more on The Exercise Habits Of Successful Dieters.